HISTORY

The first Somerville to land in Ireland in 1690 was a refugee, fleeing persecution of the Church of Scotland of which William Somerville was a minister. He took his family and rowed twenty miles over rough water to Ulster, where they found refuge through family connections. He died four years later aged just 51.

Thomas Somerville was aged two when he made the journey by boat. The younger of two sons, he decided to make his career in the Church of Ireland. He went to Trinity College, Dublin, and became ordained. The family fortunes changed when he married Ann Neville in 1723. She came from a family of means,  had an annuity of £500 a year, and they prospered and had eight children. In 1732 the family moved to West Cork, Thomas having landed the living as the Rector Of Castlehaven. He bought as his vicarage the old O’Driscoll Castle next to the church at Castlehaven Strand and although both now lie in ruins, there still remains in the house his portrait, his stick and his 1685 edition of Bedel’s Irish Bible. He died in 1752.

Of the four sons of Thomas and Ann, three brothers emigrated to Savannah, Georgia and became very prosperous. The eldest son, also called Thomas, lost an eye in an accident at Trinity. This prevented him from being ordained, so instead he built up a fleet of ships with which he traded very successfully with America. He married Mary Townshend (the first of three consecutive marriages to the Townshend family) and they had eleven children. He bought the estate and built Drishane and several other notable buildings in Castletownshend, notably the warehousing on the main harbour quay, the Custom House and his Dower  house on the Mall.

The family fortunes waxed and waned with successive generations until in 1895 Edith Somerville took over the running of Drishane in the absence of her younger brother Colonel Cameron Somerville, who never married and remained overseas much of his life. Both the house and gardens reflect much of her taste and enthusiasms; she painted many of the pictures on the walls, gained literary acclaim as one half of the Somerville and Ross writing partnership, led the local Hunt, farmed the land, bringing the first Friesans to Ireland, and played the organ in Church every Sunday.

When Cameron Somerville died, the house passed to his nephew Brigadier Desmond Somerville, a veteran of the battles of Gallipoli and the Somme, whose grandchild Tom and his wife Jane moved to Drishane in 2007 and are now guiding the house into the twenty-first century.

HOLIDAY COTTAGE LETS

Within walking distance of Drishane are three rental cottages on the estate all with spectacular coastal views. Each has its own characterful charm and are a quick walk to each other, the village and the three beaches. They are very comfortable and well-appointed, all with WiFi, TV and DVD plus washing machines and other home comforts.

Farrandau Cottage (2 kings and 1 small double/queen) A charming modernised estate cottage with striking sea views from the living room.

Cowshed Cottage (1 king and 1 twin) Surrounded by pasture, with panoramic coastal views.

Castlehaven Beach Cottage (1 king, 1 twin & 1 single) Secluded and quiet, looking down on the strand and just fifty metres from the beach.

GARDEN

Magical paths thread through eighteen acres of informal woodlands and gardens, with spectacular West Cork coastal views. The gardens vary with the seasons; in spring the woodland floor is carpeted with daffodils and bluebells.

Amongst the many mature trees and shrubs are many specimen varieties, including a Ginkgo Biloba (a variety common in the era of dinosaurs 270 million years ago, but now endangered), and a massive Cupressas Macrocarpa, or Moneterey Pine, more commonly associated with the Californina coast.

Dressed in local slate, the house is elevated on eighteen acres that cascade down ever more steeply to Castlehaven Bay. The informal gardens vary with the seasons; in spring the woodland floor is carpeted with daffodils and bluebells. Amongst the mature trees and shrubs are many specimen varieties and botanical curiosities.

The climate here is very mild, with moist Atlantic breezes warmed by the Gulf Stream that sweeps across from the Caribbean. There is also a small herd of diminutive black Dexter cattle, an historic breed of Irish origin. The property is situated at the top end of and within easy walking distance of Castletownshend village.

FARRANDAU COTTAGE

OUTSIDE

Detached cottage, quiet and secluded, with far reaching southerly views over Castle Haven to Horse Island. It is situated on the Drishane Estate about ¾ mile from the historic village of Castletownshend for nearest shop, restaurant and pub. Pebble beach one mile by road and at Tragumna (5 miles). Interesting and varied coastal scenery with many islands and inlets. Beautiful walks on the estate with access to the sea. The unique land locked Lough Ine nature reserve (7 miles). Baltimore has sailing school and ferries to the islands. Sea angling, nature boat trips, kayaking, golf and horse riding all available in the area. Garden with furniture and barbecue. Short walk to other two cottages.

INSIDE

Comfortably furnished accommodation with kitchen/sitting/dining room with gas range cooker, bathroom with W.C. and three bedrooms, one with a double and en suite shower and W.C., and one with a double including steep stairs to small open plan loft bedroom with a single bed. Oil fired central heatiing. Duvets. Satellite television. Fridge/freezer. Washing machine. One small pet only.

NOTES

€180 breakages and extras deposit. Included: Linen, Towels.  Extra: Electricity, oil, rubbish disposal, Gas. €85 Covid cleaning and laundry.

In order to book the cottage please forward half the total rent due by internet transfer, balance plus deposit being payable 6 weeks before the start date of the rental. In the event of cancellation the rental will only be returned to the extent that the period booked is re-let.

COTTAGE RATES

COWSHED COTTAGE

OUTSIDE

Detached cottage, quiet and secluded, with far reaching southerly views over Castle Haven to Horse Island. It is situated on the Drishane Estate about ¾ mile from the historic village of Castletownshend for nearest shop, restaurant and pub. Pebble beach one mile by road and at Tragumna (5 miles). Interesting and varied coastal scenery with many islands and inlets. Beautiful walks on the estate with access to the sea. The unique land locked Lough Ine nature reserve (7 miles). Baltimore has sailing school and ferries to the islands. Sea angling, nature boat trips, kayaking, golf and horse riding all available in the area. Drive access across field. Garden with furniture and barbecue. Short walk to other two cottages.

INSIDE

Comfortably furnished accommodation with kitchen/sitting/dining room with open fire, shower and W. C. and two bedrooms, one with a double and stairs to open plan loft bedroom with two single beds. Electric heaters. Duvets. Satellite TV and DVD. WiFi. Washing machine/dryer. Microwave. High chair. Duvets. One small pet only.

NOTES

€180 breakages and extras deposit. Included: Linen, Towels.  Extra: Electricity, Gas. €85 Covid cleaning and laundry.
In order to book the cottage please forward half the total rent due by internet transfer, balance plus deposit being payable 6 weeks before the start date of the rental. In the event of cancellation the rental will only be returned to the extent that the period booked is re-let.

 

COTTAGE RATES

CASTLEHAVEN BEACH COTTAGE

Sleeps: 4 • Bedrooms: 3 • 1 king, 1 single & 1 single.  Secluded and quiet, looking down on the strand and just fifty metres from the beach.

OUTSIDE

Exceptional stone cottage, completely rebuilt and refurbished, in spectacular situation with far reaching southerly views over Castle Haven to Skiddy Island. It is situated on the Drishane Estate, beside a beach and ruined church (via rocky path) about a mile from the historic village of Castletownshend for nearest shop, restaurant and pub. Tragumna (5 miles) for sandy beach. Interesting and varied coastal scenery with many islands and inlets. Beautiful walks on the estate. The unique land locked Lough Ine nature reserve (7 miles). Baltimore has sailing school and ferries to the islands. Sea angling, nature boat trips, kayaking, golf and horse riding all available in the area. Drive access across field and steep access road. Garden with furniture and barbecue. Short walk to other two  cottages.

INSIDE

Furnished and equipped to retain traditional atmosphere and charm with kitchen/sitting room with Belfast sink, gas hob and inglenook fireplace. Stairs to bathroom with bath, separate shower and W.C. and three small bedrooms, one with a double, one with two singles and one with one single. Electric heating. Duvets. Satellite TV and DVD. Washing machine/dryer. Microwave. Wifi. One small pet only.

NOTES

€180 breakages and extras deposit. Included: Linen, Towels.  Extra: Electricity, Gas. €85 Covid cleaning and laundry.
In order to book the cottage please forward half the total rent due by internet transfer, balance plus deposit being payable 6 weeks before the start date of the rental. In the event of cancellation the rental will only be returned to the extent that the period booked is re-let.

 

COTTAGE RATES

DRISHANE FOR RENT

Drishane House is available for rent by the week. Please inquire for terms.  A substantial and distinguished family home, awash with history, stories and the tang of the ocean. All to return to after an energetic exploration of west Cork’s bewitching charisma – or perhaps a simple round of croquet on the lawn.  Vintage elegance in an atmosphere of timeless indulgence; perfect for a gathering of the clan.

Built around 1780 in classic Georgian style, Drishane House has been in the same family for nine generations. Impressive double doors with fleur de lis strap hinges allow entrance to a baronial hall.  A sweeping stair case, dominated by a soaring, arched, multi-light window, occupies the centre of the house. Interconnecting double doors link through to the original entrance foyer, with its dramatic fan-lit glazed portal spilling out onto the east lawn.  The classical dining room is august and formal; dressed with gilded ancestral portraits hanging mutely on rich wine walls. Swags above the curtained windows date from 1820, and yes, there’s still a chamber pot hidden behind the shutters – lest a gentleman get caught short.

FACILITIES

The house is equipped with everything you would expect from a traditional large home – and sometimes more than one of them. The house is centrally heated in parts and there are wood-burning stoves or open fires in all the public spaces.  If you have a particular requirement, such as a chef, catering staff or a babysitter, please be sure to tell us in advance…

Upstairs accommodation consists of three generous double bedrooms, two with ensuite bathrooms, and two with romantic half-tester canopies above the beds.

The modern kitchen has been fitted out in light oak and has a gas hob and a raised electric oven to compliment the traditional four oven Aga. There is a full height fridge and a matching freezer, and a utility room for laundry and pantry requirements. A tight little secret stairs runs up to the west wing bedrooms.

WEDDINGS

Drishane is the perfect venue for a romantic wedding.   Many options are available, which must include a marquee on one of our lawns. There are plenty of cottages and B&B’s nearby for guests.  If you have a local connection to the area, and want a particular wedding, have a chat with us to discuss it: we have all the contacts you will need.

The house and 4 bedrooms, and the gardens, may be rented as a venue for 3 days over the wedding day for €8000.

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DRISHANE HOUSE

Drishane House has been the home of the Somerville family for nine generations, or nearly 250 years. Thomas Somerville built the house around 1780 in classic Georgian style, its elevations hung with purple Benduff slate and surrounded by park-like gardens with mature trees, including several rare specimens. Situated at the top of the hill, with fabulous views of Castlehaven Bay and the point, he could keep an eye on the progress of his fleet of merchant ships that traded with America.

The house has changed slightly over the years, adjusting organically with the demands of family life. The front door moved from the east to the north front in 1820. A French door was added to the southern aspect in 1901. An American admirer wanted Edith Somerville to have her own bathroom upstairs so a room supported on stilts was added to her bedroom. There has been some sensitive modernisation to bring the house into the twenty-first century, but the swags above the curtains in the dining room date from 1820. Some rooms still bear their 1940s wallpaper including the octagonal study, and there’s still a chamber pot hidden behind the shutter in the dining room, where the portraits of past family members look down benignly.

MUSEUM

Edith Somerville was a major influence on Drishane and the surrounding neighbourhood. The museum, situated in her studio, is a celebration of her very full life, containing many letters, drawings and photographs. Although most widely known for her collaboration with her cousin and very dear friend Violet Martin of Ross, she was far more than just a writer, which the exhibition attempts to demonstrate.

Edith Somerville (1858-1949) spent most of her life in Drishane House. Memorable for her writings in collaboration with her cousin under the pseudonym Somerville and Ross- of which The Experiences of an Irish R.M is probably the best known – she was also a highly regarded painter, with many examples of her work in the house.

SOMERVILLE AND ROSS

Edith Somerville met her cousin Violet Martin in 1886, and their first book An Irish Cousin appeared in 1889 under the names Geilles Herring (from the maiden name of her ancestor, the wife of Sir Walter de Somerville of Linton and Carnwath) and Martin Ross, though the pen names were dropped after the first edition.  In 1898 Edith Somerville went to paint at the Etaples art colony, accompanied by Violet.  There they created the stories later gathered in Some Experiences of an Irish R. M., completed the following year.  By the time Violet died in 1915, they had published fourteen books together.